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Poll: Iranian Views on Nuclear Weapons

April 7, 2020
A majority of Iranians oppose the development of nuclear weapons, according to a recent survey by IranPoll and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. At the same time, most Iranians polled strongly support a peaceful nuclear energy program to provide an alternative to finite sources of fossil fuel…

Poll: Iranian Views on the U.S. and Military Strike

April 7, 2020
Iranians are split over prospects of a U.S. military strike if Tehran continues to develop its nuclear program, according to a recent survey by IranPoll and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Almost three quarters of Iranians think that the United States is unlikely to attack. Only one out of…

New Digest: Week of April 6

April 7, 2020
April 6 Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 60,500 cases and 3,739 deaths from coronavirus. It was the eighth day in a row the number of new cases had dropped. But a member of the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce, Hamid Souri, said the number of cases was probably around 500,000. “Many…

Part 1: U.S. Charges Iran Sanctions Relief Scam

April 6, 2020
On April 6, the State Department alleged that Iran’s campaign to ease U.S. sanctions “is not intended for the relief or health of the Iranian people but to raise funds for its terror operations.” In a fact sheet, the State Department claimed that Iran had enough funds to adequately respond to the…

Part 2: Former US, European Officials Urge Trump to Ease Sanctions

April 6, 2020
On April 6, a bipartisan group of two dozen American and European national security leaders urged the U.S. government to ease sanctions on Iran amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Just because Iran has managed the crisis badly, that does not make its humanitarian needs and our security ones any the less.…

Rouhani: “Necessary Decisions” on COVID-19

April 1, 2020
Six weeks after the first COVID-19 deaths, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran was successfully containing the outbreak. “Fortunately, the statistics I read last night from all the provinces shows a downward trend in all provinces,” he said at a cabinet meeting on April 1. Rouhani claimed that…

Trump Threatens Iran on Iraq

April 1, 2020
On April 1, President Donald Trump warned that Iran would pay a “very heavy price” if it or one of its proxies attacked U.S. troops or assets in Iraq. In a tweet, he cited a possible “sneak attack” but did not provide further details. The message came after Trump reportedly received a foreign…

Iran Bans Printing of Newspapers

April 1, 2020
On March 31, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, published the following story about the Iranian government's decree suspending the publication and delivery of newspapers due to COVID-19.    The Committee to Protect Journalists…

New Digest: Week of March 30

March 31, 2020
Updated: April 3, 2020
March 30 Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 41,495 cases of coronavirus, including 2,757 deaths. Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri warned that the government may impose “tougher measures as our priority is the nation’s safety and health.” Justice: Enayatollah Rahimi, governor of Fars…

Zarif on COVID-19 and Sanctions

March 31, 2020
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif charged the United States with “war crimes” and “economic terrorism” as U.S. sanctions “literally kill innocents” because of Iran’s ability to acquire medical supplies during the COVID19 crisis. On February 28, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had offered…

Rouhani’s Evolving Views on COVID-19

March 31, 2020
Updated: October 14, 2020
President Hassan Rouhani’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic gradually evolved as the crisis expanded and the death toll mounted. The first official report of deaths from the new virus was on February 19. Rouhani initially downplayed the threat of the disease. On February 23, he compared the impact…

Eight Countries Urge U.N. to Help on Sanctions

March 27, 2020
On March 25, Iran and seven other countries urged U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to call for the immediate lifting of unilateral sanctions imposed mainly by the United States and the European Union. In a joint letter, the foreign ministers of China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua,…

Senators Urge Trump to Ease Iran Sanctions

March 27, 2020
On March 26, a group of Democratic senators urged the Trump administration to temporarily ease sanctions on Iran and Venezuela to help them cope with the coronavirus outbreak. “As these countries struggle to respond to their domestic health crises, U.S. sanctions are hindering the free flow of…

U.S. Sanctions Iraqi Network Tied to IRGC

March 26, 2020
On March 26, the United States sanctioned 20 individuals and companies for funneling money to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and transferring lethal aid to Iraqi militias backed by Iran. “Iran employs a web of front companies to fund terrorist groups across the region,…

Hostage Robert Levinson Died in Iran

March 25, 2020
Updated: October 7, 2020
On March 25, the wife and children of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007, announced “with aching hearts” that U.S. officials informed them that he had died in Iranian custody. Levinson had been on a rogue CIA mission when he disappeared on Kish Island. He was the…

U.N., World Urge U.S. to Lift Iran Sanctions

March 25, 2020
On March 24, the United Nations called on the international community to lift sanctions on countries, such as Iran, with a coronavirus crisis.  “At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral…

Timeline: Iran's Death Toll from COVID-19

March 25, 2020
Iran has scrambled to deal with the mounting death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic amid claims that it is seriously underreporting the numbers. In February and March video and satellite images showed mass graves dug in Qom, the epicenter of the outbreak, to keep up with the pace of deaths. A…

U.S. Charges Iran Lying on COVID-19 Facts

March 24, 2020
On March 23, the State Department issued a fact sheet disputing Iran’s claims on the scope of its COVID-19 crisis. It came one day after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected U.S. aid to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. Khamenei also had cited a baseless conspiracy theory that COVID-…

New Digest: Week of March 23

March 24, 2020
Updated: March 26, 2020
March 23 Medicine: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 23,049 cases of coronavirus, including 1,812 deaths. President Hassan Rouhani called on the United States to lift sanctions to help Iran fight the coronavirus outbreak. “American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to…

Khamenei Refuses U.S. Help on COVID-19

March 23, 2020
In a televised address, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected U.S. aid to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. “You might give us a medicine that would spread the disease even more or make it last longer,” he said on March 22. Khamenei also cited a baseless conspiracy theory that COVID-19…

Nowruz Curtailed by COVID-19

March 23, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has significantly dampened celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Across the country, signs implored families to stay home instead of traveling to see friends and family for the holiday. Media coverage reflected the somber tone during what is usually the most festive…

Rouhani Calls on Americans for Help on U.S. Sanctions

March 23, 2020
In an open letter addressed directly to the American people, President Hassan Rouhani appealed for their help in pressuring President Donald Trump and Congress to lift economic sanctions on Iran. Sanctions are “collective punishment” on the Iranian people that have hampered his country’s ability to…

Iran's Leaders on Nowruz amid COVID-19

March 20, 2020
In his annual address marking the Persian New Year, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged that Iran had faced a difficult year “that began with the floods and that ended with the coronavirus.” He also listed the physical toll from earthquakes, the economic pressure of sanctions, and…

Trump, Pompeo on Nowruz amid COVID-19

March 20, 2020
On March 19, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wished a happy Nowruz, the Persian New Year, to all those celebrating around the world, including in Iran. Trump blasted Iran’s leaders for corruption and human rights abuses. “The Iranian people deserve leaders who listen to,…

Iran Releases U.S. Veteran on Medical Furlough

March 19, 2020
Updated: March 25, 2020
On March 19, the U.S. State Department announced that Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran, was temporarily released from prison on a medical furlough.  His release was facilitated by the Swiss, who represent U.S. interests in Iran. White was required to remain in Iran throughout his…

Iran Shuts Down

March 18, 2020
Daily life in Iran has been increasingly disrupted by COVID-19, which was first reported in the country on February 19. On February 28, Iran closed schools and universities. Students were forced to watch their lessons on television. On March 3, Iran suspended parliament sessions indefinitely…

U.S. Sanctions Oil Smugglers, Nuclear Program

March 17, 2020
Updated: March 18, 2020
On March 17, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions on a petrochemical smuggling network and Iran’s nuclear program. He also blasted Tehran's response to the coronavirus outbreak. “The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice,” Pompeo said. He urged the regime…

News Digest: Week of March 16

March 17, 2020
Updated: March 23, 2020
March 16 Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 14,991 cases of coronavirus, including 853 deaths—129 more than the previous day. It was the largest one-day increase in fatalities since the outbreak was first reported on February 19.  Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, a senior cleric and…

General Kenneth McKenzie on Iran

March 16, 2020
Updated: August 12, 2020
After months of tension with Iran, the United States has “reestablished a rough form of deterrence” in limiting the impact of “state-on-state attacks,” General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, said in congressional testimony on March 12, 2020. McKenzie has repeatedly…

U.S. Hits Iran-backed Militia for Third Time

March 13, 2020
Updated: March 16, 2020
Early on March 13, the United States struck five weapon storage facilities belonging to Kataib Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian militia in Iraq linked to the attack on the Camp Taji base that killed two U.S. and one British service members and injured 14 others. “The United States will not tolerate…